I attended to a burlesque show by Araceli De Anda in Guadalajara. Being used to classical ballet, contemporary dance and modern jazz, burlesque is something very new to me. I enjoyed this show that was based on the Wizard of Oz story. It was kind of bizarre, like all burlesque shows are, but also sexy and funny.
There’s a lot to learn to appreciate and understand this art form in a deeper sense, but you don’t need much to have fun and enjoy the show.
Photographing dance is a tough task. Specially when it is an indoor low budget theatre with poor lighting setup. In these situations, you push your gear to the limit, not because you set the gear to the its maximum settings but because you need to explore the limits between capturing the moment and haivng a technically “good shot”.
The high noise in these images are because of my high ISO I needed to use. I’ve come to the conclusion of sacrificing image quality for capturing the right moments. And if you enjoy these images, I hope I’m not wrong.
These are some shots I took at the theatre rehearsals. Because of schedule conflicts I couldn’t shoot the main events, but I enjoy the rehearsals more because I get a better insight and feeling of the complexities and hard work that is put into these events.
Everyone involved, from the dancers and the musicians to the technical staff, makeup artists and most of all, the teachers and choreographers put a lot of effort for ballet to seem like an effortless dance with magic and princesses and where all is fine and beautiful.
Yes, there is a lot of “magic” and beauty, but also a lot of hard work and effort. In these images I hope I could capture both, the beauty and the hard work by everyone involved for you to have a glipse at what is is to be in the dance profession.
I’ve been sitting on these images for way too long. I took them on November 2013 and I didn’t want to continue publishing more material without sharing these first.
For me, seeing these images again after many months and remembering how I also struggled to capture them, I realize that in this business everyone involved, even the by-stander-photographer pushes themselves to the limit to deliver their art.
Let me know what you think, and if you feel identified with this story, I’d like to hear your stories of art delivering hard work in the comments.
The UNAM has a dance division, that is not exaclty a school for professional dancers, but promotes events, creates workshops, connects dancers and provides spaces for their works.
To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, they organized a mass dance event open to the public. It took place outside the MUAC museum and it had one massive stage, but four fronts. Each front was leaded by a different kind of dance coach. Jazz/Pop, Hip-hop, Salsa and Cumbia were the different dances that everyone performed that day.
A lot of people attended not only to watch but to participate in the activities. And by most of them I mean from the young to the old people.
I remember this one old lady trying to follow the hip-hop teacher’s steps. She even tried to lay down in the ground to do a split! It was good to see enthusiastic people that no matter their age, they still keep moving. I know people that in their late 20s or early 30s feel like old cripples.
Here’s the old lady attempting to sit in the floor to do the step like everyone else
Back in September I took some photos of this very creative outdoor theatre and dance at the UNAM. People were walking around the green areas and fountains of the University campus, and suddenly musicians and dancers start their act among them.
They gathered the crowd to the stairs of one of the theatres and they presented three numbers there. It was an interesting art proposal and very entertaining.
I was there because I knew this was going to happen, since my girlfriend was part of the project and she invited me to witness it, as she had talked to me about it and also another friend of mine, Jose Serralde, participated as the music director.
That day I had my zoom lens in the shop for repairs, so I had to manage how to shoot dancers on stage with a 50mm fixed lens. It turned out quite well I think, and I love the sharpness of my Nikon 50mm 1.8D, but it was not easy, since I’m using an APS-C sensor, so that 50mm lens is like an 85mm lens. Getting the dancers in frame and the crowd out of it was the hard part.
On one of my now frequent trips to Mexico city, we went to the MUAC, the state’s university museum of contemporary art, and saw the exhibitions there. I know I’m not a fan of contemporary dance, and after my museum walk through, I discovered I’m also not a fan of contemporary art.
I just don’t understand the artistic aspect of it. In the picture above you can see me taking a photo of what is considered a piece of art, which is only a big metal ring hanging from the ceiling. It just makes no artistic contribution or impacts me in any way at all. Maybe I’m not with the right mindset, or under the influence of the right substances (or any substance at all to make that clear).
So I decided to take some snapshots of other things and try to turn that into art. If you ask me, anything that has a beautiful woman on it turns instantly into art. And my example below:
See what I mean?
If I didn’t bore you to death with the photos of the contemporary art exhibits, you can see more of my shots at my Flickr set MUAC and maybe some day I’ll post a video of contemporary dance to see if you understand it or get bored like me.